Artist's concept of the ExoMars rover.

The ExoMars rover. Credit: ESA

The ExoMars Program is a pair of missions, led by the European Space Agency (ESA), designed to understand if life ever existed on Mars. Just as other countries often participate in NASA Mars missions, NASA contributes scientific, engineering and technical expertise to other world efforts to explore the Red Planet. The second mission in the ExoMars Program is the ExoMars Rover and Surface Platform (the first being the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission).

NASA's participation in the ExoMars Rover mission currently includes providing critical elements to the premier astrobiology instrument on the rover, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). By studying organic molecules, the chemical building blocks of life, MOMA is designed to help answer questions about whether life ever existed on Mars, along with its potential origin, evolution and distribution on the Red Planet.

NASA is providing a mass spectrometer and key electronic components for MOMA. A mass spectrometer is an instrument that identifies the amount and type of chemicals present in a sample. The NASA-provided MOMA mass spectrometer is designed to analyze the types and amounts of chemicals that make up organic and inorganic compounds found in rock and soil samples on Mars.

NASA is discussing other possible mission contributions with ESA to enhance scientific return.

Updated: May 2022


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